Losing it over summer

Keeping a student’s mind active over Summer can be a challenge

Summer holidays

For students at school, summer is a wonderful period of (at least!) 6 weeks where they relax and unwind from the stresses of the past year at school. Whether it is as wonderful for parents is a completely different point! 😊

Summer is also a time that students ‘lose it’. Not lose their temper – though my kids do as the summer wears on! – but rather, lose some of the knowledge and ability that they have gained over the past year at school.

Summer learning loss or summer slide

Summer learning loss is also known as ‘summer slide’. It refers to the loss of academic knowledge and skills. Studies in the US show a loss of up to 3 months reading and numeracy skills. The effect is likely lower in Australia but it is not negligible. A Massey University study showed students in NZ experiencing similar learning loss to their US peers. NZ has the same length summer holidays as Australian schools. 

What causes it?

Summer learning loss is an example of forgetting due to lack of practice. Psychologists call this ‘memory decay’. This should not be surprising to those of us who are a little older. How many times have you forgotten something because you have not had a chance to practice it?! 

How does it affect students?

Summer learning loss means that some students start school behind the 8-ball. Most subjects at school build on prior knowledge. If students lose some of that knowledge then they have to regain it before they progress. 

For most students this means a stressful start to the school year. For others, it means that they may get behind and struggle to catch up. 

Whether it be causing stress or affecting marks, students don’t have to start the year that way.

How can you avoid it?

The main way to avoid summer learning loss is for students to practice their core skills. I know – it’s the holidays!

For senior students – particularly students in Year 12 – this should be a given. The summer holiday should be a busy time. Students should be summarising Term 4 notes, reading ahead and practising their writing. 

All other students may need to do is keep up their reading over the holiday. Studies have shown that reading is effective in offsetting the impact of summer learning loss on literacy. If the student is particularly keen, they could consider practising their math skills. Math programs are good for short daily or weekly quizzes. Finally, there are summer camps. These are a great way to keep the kids stimulated and learning. There is, also, the benefit that it get’s them out of the house! 😊 

Shameless plug 😊

You knew there was going to be a plug! Potentia Tutoring offers a range of programs over summer including:

●    Holiday STEM Program for students in Years 4 – 6. The focus in these programs is for kids to have a great time developing new skills in coding, robotics and science. To find out more click this link.

●    HSC Intensive Courses for students in Year 12. These courses focus on Term 4 materials. The courses focus on refreshing and mastering content through quizzes, practice tests and constant feedback. To find out more click this link.

If you want to keep your child busy or help them get ahead in 2019, these courses could be what you are looking for!

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